What Does a 1-Carat Diamond Cost?

It depends where you shop—but the range is roughly $3,427 to $5,005.

To provide an example, we checked the prices of very similar diamonds across many different retailers on the same day (April 19, 2009). The initials of the gemological laboratory grading each diamond appear in parentheses. All of the retailers offered a diamond that fit this description: round, 1-carat, H-color, very good cut grade, VS1-clarity.

Abazias EGL $3427.20
Amazon.com GIA $4700
Diamond.com GIA $4680
E.R.D. GIA $4271
IceStore GIA $4473
James Allen GIA $4610
Mondera GIA $5005
Precious Glow IGI $4928
Solomon Brothers GIA $4602
Union Diamond GIA $4412
USA Certed GIA $4577
Whiteflash GIA $4543

There are plenty of other retailers in the diamond market—some simply didn’t make the list because they did not offer a diamond that met the specific description in this example. However, these twelve retailers show there is a wide range of prices (here $3,427.20 to $5,005.00), even for very similar diamonds.

If the diamond’s description was altered just a bit—maybe a grade higher in clarity or a grade lower in color—the retailers would all offer different prices, and the ones showing the best prices for this example might no longer be the best prices in town.

Why? Some retailers carry more stock of certain types of diamonds, usually to match what’s popular with their clientele. Some retailers update their diamonds’ prices frequently, while others price each diamond just once when it is first received in inventory—so over time two matching diamonds in stock might carry different price tags, simply due to a time lapse. And each retailer has its own formula for pricing diamonds, generally associated with business costs and a desired markup.

So, even if this answer is correct for April 19, 2009, it won’t hold for long. The best way to answer this question is to do your own research—using the exact shape, carat weight, color, cut grade, and clarity you desire—when you plan to make your purchase, pulling answers from as many reputable retailers as possible in order to find the range—and the best price—available.